Ever since the missing episodes #omnirumour train started rolling, one serial that has often been mentioned is lost Doctor Who classic Marco Polo from 1964.
Even as recently as last week there were rumours that an episode from the seven parter starring William Hartnell, Carole Ann Ford, Jacqueline Hill and William Russell – with Mark Eden as the titular historical figure – would be aired at the upcoming BFI Missing Believed Wiped event in Scotland.
Now The Mirror has broken ranks among the printed press to go public with a claim that the episodes were recorded with 16mm cine film a they were broadcast! While there are rumours that the news might be confirmed today – and what better day than Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary – it seems likely that the BBC will announce the release of the news carefully, as they did back in October with The Web of Fear and The Enemy of the World.
This is a massive deal for Doctor Who fans, these episodes were hugely popular with viewers when they were first shown and are set to be a hit again. This new discovery is all down to a dedicated fan who spent ages recording the episodes back in the sixties.
The fan had been holding onto these tapes for a long time and when the BBC found out about the tapes they jumped at the chance of using them. It’s a massive coup for the broadcaster.
Unfortunately there is no clue given as to just how many episodes the unnamed fan recorded in this way. The source continues:
The recording – which is a silent film – came out really clearly so it will be easy to watch… the fan did it in a very professional way.
There are already audio recordings of the episodes so the Beeb have had to match everything up. There are some gaps in the audio so it has been a painstaking process. Where there are gaps in audio they are going to be re-recorded using contemporary actors who sound as close to the original actors as possible.
At present, this is nothing more than rumours and claims. Until a formal announcement is forthcoming, we can only speculate. However, it is a tantalising proposition!